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Minister, defector enjoy special night

This year’s batch of Chevening scholarship recipients got a special treat all the way from London.

The Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Jeremy Browne awarded this year’s scholarships to successful South Korean recipients.

But there was one person in the crowd that stood out over the rest, North Korean defector Oh Se-hyek who is planning to further his studies in the United Kingdom.

“I am very excited to study in the U.K.,” Oh told The Korea Herald. “This is just the beginning of my future plans.”

Oh, whose acceptance is pending from two universities, will pursue a master’s degree in globalization and development studies and hopes to further that with a doctorate. 
This year’s batch of Chevening scholars pose with British Ambassador Martin Uden (second row, fourth from left) and British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Jeremy Browne (second row, fifth from left). (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)
This year’s batch of Chevening scholars pose with British Ambassador Martin Uden (second row, fourth from left) and British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Jeremy Browne (second row, fifth from left). (Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald)

In total, 25 Korean students were selected under this year’s scheme.

“The Chevening scholarship scheme aims to provide opportunities for potential leaders, decision makers and opinion formers to study in the U.K. so they can contribute to the future development of their country,” said British Ambassador Martin Uden.

Chevening scholarships are a prestigious worldwide scholarship program, funded by the British Government.

About 2,000 scholars and fellows from around the world receive awards to study in the United Kingdom each year.

This year’s batch includes among others, Park Hun-min, general manager of Samsung Life Insurance; Shin Dong-min, the Foreign Ministry’s second secretary; Lee Hae-in, deputy manager of Bank of Korea and Jung Ji-young, external relations manager of McKinsey and Company.

Scholarships are awarded in a diverse range of fields including politics and international relations, economics, law, journalism, science and technology, business, social studies and the environment.

Browne is making his first official visit to Korea from July 7-9.

“The trade and investment relationship between our countries is extremely important and has great potential for growth,” he said.

His responsibilities include relations with East Asia, as well as a range of other issues including South East Asia, migration, human rights, consular policy, and the London 2012 Olympics.

“The U.K. Government is looking forward to making the most of the EU-Korea free trade agreement to deepen our trading relationship,” Browne said. “Korea is also a very important partner in terms of foreign investment.”

The United Kingdom was the second largest destination for Korean overseas investment in 2010.

During his trip, Browne held bilateral meetings with First Vice Foreign Minister Park Seok-hwan, Vice Minister for Unification Um Jong-sik, and representative Chung Mong-joon, where they discussed a range of foreign policy issues.

He also met Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon, Democratic Party Chair Sohn Hak-kyu, and visited the Demilitarized Zone.

Browne also launched a project with Minister of Environment Yoo Young-sook to promote regionally the Korean “Stern Review” which investigates the economics of tackling climate change.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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